Writing Intensive Courses

An instructor shows a rock to students at a creek bed as the students observe, holding paper and pens

All academic disciplines use writing to develop ideas and communicate for specific purposes and audiences. The Writing Intensive (WI) course requirement at SUNY Cortland asks students to practice discipline-specific writing, use writing as a way to learn new concepts and ideas, and refine their writing process through revision and individual feedback.

SUNY Cortland students must complete six credits of WI courses, and three credits must be completed in their major program. There are WI courses in every academic department. Students cannot transfer in courses from another institution to fulfill any part of the WI requirement.

All WI courses meet these student learning outcomes:

  1. Students will undertake an effective writing process, making informed decisions about their writing with input from their instructor.
  2. Students will write effectively in specific disciplinary genres.

All WI courses have the following required characteristics:

  1. Students write an equivalent of at least 15 typed pages, with two or more pieces of writing submitted in multiple drafts. Upper division WI courses may use a single project towards this 15-page minimum.
  2. Instructors are required to respond to students’ writing through written comments, conferences, or both. Students must revise their work and use their instructor's feedback as they write their revisions.
  3. Instructors must dedicate class time to teach students how to write in a particular discipline, which may include discipline-specific writing techniques, strategies, and genres. 
  4. The writing component of the course must constitute a significant percentage of the students’ final grade.

Contact Us

  • Laura J. Davies, Director of Writing Programs and Associate Professor of English
  • Kati Ahern, Associate Director of Writing Programs and Assistant Professor of Professional Writing